[colon + -scopy]
Visualization of the lower gastrointestinal tract. The procedure usually consists of the insertion of a flexible endoscope through the anus to inspect the entire colon and terminal ileum. The procedure detects polyps in 5% to 10% of screened patients and cancer in about 0.5% to 1.0%. Because these lesions can be removed during the examination, it is a proven, effective means of reducing the risk of death from colorectal cancers.
SEE: coloscopy; SEE: colon for illus.
About 0.3% to 0.5% of patients who undergo colonoscopy suffer serious complications, such as bowel perforation. The risk increases in older patients.
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